MILWAUKEE -- March Madness starts March 19, but Match Madness began March 1. Match Madness is a community fundraising campaign aimed at providing hunger relief for Milwaukee families.
The Amani Food Pantry has served people in Milwaukee for more than 30 years. Volunteer Mattie Allen has been part of the effort from the beginning.
"We've gone from 25 to 30 people. Now we're serving 500 to 600 people a month," said Allen.
The pantry has expanded since partnering with Hunger Task Force. The organization distributes food to a network of shelters across Milwaukee County -- and March isn't usually the best time for donations.
"People are very generous at Thanksgiving and Christmas, but here we are in March," said Sherrie Tussler, Hunger Task Force director.
That's why Hunger Task Force launched "Match Madness." Through a generous matching pool built by local donors, all donations made to Hunger Task Force from March 1–10 would be matched dollar-for-dollar, doubling the community impact.
"For us, it means if we get a semi-truck load of food, it's two semi-truck loads of food," said Tussler.
Allen said she sees firsthand what those truckloads of food mean to people in her community.
"You can't really talk to anyone when they're hungry. They're not hearing you. They heard what you said, but they're not listening. When you feed people, they can hear you better," said Allen.
In 2018, $462,000 was raised during Match Madness. In 2019, the goal was a half-million.
Donations can be made:
- Online at HungerTaskForce.org/MatchMadness
- Via phone at 414-777-0483
- Via mail at 201 S. Hawley Court, Milwaukee, WI 53214
- In person by dropping off a gift at the address listed above